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Real Estate - Residential

Developer Shares New Plan For $60M Riverfront Project

By Cece Nunn, posted May 25, 2017
An updated rendering of Pier 33 apartments planned for Wilmington's northern riverfront. (Rendering courtesy of DeWitt Carolinas)
The developer of Pier 33 apartments, a northern riverfront proposal announced in 2014 for downtown Wilmington, shared details this week of the $60 million development’s new plan.

Describing it as unlike any other multi-family project in the Wilmington area, Everett Daniels, president of Raleigh-based DeWitt Carolinas, said instead of a wood-frame building, the Pier 33 apartments’ structure will be made of metal.

“What that does for us is that gives us an institutional-grade building,” he said Wednesday. “It’s a much sounder building, a much more stable building.”

It also allows the company to wrap the entire outside with brick up to its full, six-story height, Daniels said.

The company has resubmitted its Pier 33 plans, which expired after two years of no construction, to the city’s technical review process, reducing the retail space proposed from 32,000 square feet to at least 22,000 square feet and the number of apartments from 305 to 287.

In the latest construction timeline, Daniels said he estimates crews will break ground on the project in the third quarter of this year.

DeWitt Carolinas engaged Washington, D.C.-based RCLCO, a real estate advisory company, to update the plans for Pier 33.

“We’ve worked hand in hand with them based on their input and ours to enhance our riverfront views, enhance our amenities and courtyards to make this building really special,” Daniels said.

A 2,500-square-foot outparcel building on the northern side of the property can hold one or more retail businesses, and will help round out a retail plaza that includes restaurant buildings by the marina, Daniels said. Blackfinn Ameripub, one of the three restaurants at the pier that include an outdoor eatery, is celebrating a grand opening Friday.

The remainder of the Pier 33 apartment building's 22,000 square feet of retail space will be on the first floor of the main structure on the north and south ends.

Pier 33 apartments will take up about 5 acres of the 7-acre tract that DeWitt Carolinas bought from the developers of the Port City Marina in 2014 for a little over $7 million. The land is next to the restaurant and marina complex on Harnett Street and the apartments will overlook the marina.

A parking deck inside the complex will hold more than 500 parking spaces, Daniels said. The current proposal for the building also includes a public bathroom.

For the additional 2 acres that DeWitt Carolinas owns, Everett said the company is evaluating market studies to determine its potential use.

“At this point, our focus is to get Pier 33 out of the ground and under construction,” Daniels said.

The new Pier 33 apartment plans, including the metal frame, come with an additional cost – an increase of $10 million from the original $50 million price tag estimate announced in 2014.

“We’ll finish this building in three phases, and the first phase is set to open late 2018,” Daniels said.

The city's Technical Review Committee is scheduled to discuss the plans at a meeting June 8.

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